What do you want from your marriage?
This question is fundamental in order to set marriage goals. If we want to have real transformation in our relationships, we must be able to clarify what we want from our relationship.
However, there is a huge problem in most relationships. Lack of clarity in marriage goals.
It’s not that couples don’t have desires, needs and wants. They do. They just haven’t translated those things into clear goals. And they haven’t communicated those to their spouse.
The majority of couples have never identified, discussed, or even contemplated what they truly want from their relationship.
Getting Clear On Marriage Goals
As I mentioned, they have desires and dreams, but those desires and dreams remain locked inside them.
There is a reason.
Unfortunately, most people only identify what they don’t want. They know they they want things different. They know they want change and transformation. They can tell you specifically what they don’t like.
I don’t like it when my husband doesn’t call me when he’s going to be late.
I don’t like it when my wife nags me about how I spend my money.
We could go on and on.
We know what we don’t want. But few people can tell you specifically and clearly what they do want.
It’s not enough to say what you don’t like. You have to know where you want your relationship to go and what you want it to be. You have to be able to define what you want it to look like.
There are several basic reasons for this.
Reason #1: If we only focus on what we don’t like we become negative in our mind.
It’s easy to develop a blame and complain mentality. This happens especially when we focus on things we don’t like. Things we want to change.
Negativity doesn’t solve problems.
Israelmore Ayivor is an international Christian leader, author and motivational speaker. I love what he says about negative people.
Bottom line: “Stay away from negative people!”
When we constantly focus on what we don’t have we reinforce an attitude of lack. When we only see what what is lacking in our relationship it breeds frustration and a Perpetual cycle of failure.
Knowing the problem is only part of the equation. It’s like a math equation. For example 2 + 2 =4.
We understand that because we have both parts of the equation, 2 and 2.
If we only have part of the equation, in this example, if we only one of the 2’s. We could not find the answer.
Here’s what it would look like: 2 + ? =?.
There’s no way to find the answer to the equal unless we have the other part of the addition. But once we have that number, we can find a solution.
That’s the way it is in our marriages. Identifying the problem is the first part of the equation. The second part is knowing where you wanted to “be.” What you want form your marriage. Once you have those two parts of the equation you can find a solution.
Reason #2: We always move in the direction of our dominant thoughts.
There has been a lot of headway made in the field of brain and mind research over the past decades. It’s fascinating.
It wouldn’t be responsible for me to say that it all boils down to one thing. We all know our mind is complex. Even complicated.
But there are a few fundamental things that we’ve learned.
One of the biggest is that our lives follow our dominant thoughts.
If you only contemplate your problems in terms of what you don’t like, you will continue to move in that direction. If you can identify what you want your relationship to become you will move in that direction.
When it comes to establishing goals in a marriage, it’s vital to focus on the positive direction you want to move. This requires clarity.
Reason #3: Clarity brings confidence.
Let me explain…
Without Clarity of what we want we never have the confidence to make the decisions necessary to move us forward. When we don’t know where we’re going we’re paralyzed with fear that we might be making the wrong decision.
For example I remember being at Disney World with my kids when they were small. We wanted to go to one area of the park and were in a different area. Disney World is quite large so I wanted to make sure we walked the quickest shortest route so we didn’t waste time more importantly we didn’t waste our energy.
To do this I did what any smart father would do. I looked at the map.
When I pinpointed where I was compared to where I wanted to go it was easy to map out the best course of action.
The same applies to marriage. When we know where we are and we know where we want to be it’s easier to plan a course of action to get there. The problem occurs when we don’t know where we are or we don’t really know where we’re going. When we have it identified the right destination we are not confident to make the decisions necessary to get us there.
We end up running in circles so to speak. In the example of my Disney World trip it would have been easy to guess and simply start walking. The problem with that is we would have wasted a lot of time and a lot of energy. We would have been grumpy when we got there if we got there. So the best course of action was first to identify where we were and where we wanted to go.
This is why Clarity is so important.
Reason #4: Clarity Brings Unity
A marriage out of sync will not flourish.
A great relationship requires unity. The best way to get in unity is to agree on the big picture goals of your marriage. This is why I stress taking time to talk, discuss (even debate) what you want out of your marriage.
You cannot agree on what you do not know.
You cannot know what you do not discuss.
You cannot discuss what you refuse to face.
The answer? Get clear on the big picture of your relationship.
A word of warning: This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to find clarity and work through issues. It takes time flesh out desires and dreams. But it’s worth it.
4 Steps To Create Awesome Goals
Now that we understand the reasons we fail to set good relationship goals, let’s discover 4 basic steps to creating positive marriage goals.
Some people bristle at the idea of ‘goals’ when talking about marriage.
Goals seems so corporate. It’s something big companies do. It’s what we do when we want to lose weight, get in shape, or remodel the house. But it’s not what we do in a relationship. Much less a marriage.
Goals seems so ‘anti-relational.’ It’s seems cold and calculated. Even unloving.
After all, isn’t love supposed to be…emotional. Not business-like?
Yes and No.
Marriage is definitely relational. But ‘no’ it is not merely an emotional bond. It should be something much deeper than simply ‘feelings for one another.’ It should be a partnership IN life and FOR life.
For a marriage to ‘work’ it should be clear on WHAT the marriage is supposed to look like. What’s it supposed to be. This is where partnership comes into play.
It’s where goals fit in.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at a few principles to help get clarity and create some important marriage goals. Here’s four practical steps to creating awesome goals in your marriage.
1. Set Aside Time To Discuss What You Want and Expect Out Of Your Marriage.
I’m amazed at the number of couples who do not have a regular time to discuss the important things concerning their relationship.
They spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning their marriage.
Set aside time with your spouse to answer these questions:
- Why did you get married?
- What is important to you about our marriage?
- How does your partner fit into your work life?
- Do you feel like there is a higher purpose for a relationship?
- If our marriage was a book or movie what would the title be?
- What can and does our relationship contribute to our friends and family?
- If you could paint a picture of what you want our marriage to look like what would it be?
Those questions help you get a big picture view of your marriage. They are the big audacious overarching ideas about your marriage.
Now take some time to drill down on a practical level. Take time to answer these questions.
Talk about goals in each of these categories.
1) Your financial goals for the next five years.
2) Your relationship goals.
This includes things like what you want out of your relationship.
3) Family goals.
This would include things like vacations, trips and Adventures.
It may also include things like the size of your family.
2. Put it on a schedule and write it on your calendar.
Once you’ve written down some of your goals and things you want to accomplish, move to the next level. Write them down so we can chart them.
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.
– Brian Tracy
There is something powerful about writing down your dreams and your goals. Something happens in our neuro-receptors the triggers our brains to help us accomplish goals.
Years ago I read a book by Maxwell Maltz called Psycho-Cybernetics. It’s an older book, written in the fifties or sixties. Maltz had incredible insight into how the human mind works.
One of the things he realized was the mind is like Automated machine. Give it an assignment and it will work toward that end.
He wrote about this concept long before our current military advancements. We have weapons and bombs that when given specific coordinates, they will target those coordinates with incredible precision.
Airplanes use similar technology in flying certain coordinates from one location to the next. We’re all familiar with the concept of automatic pilot. That idea is based upon this same principle.
What’s my point?
Our brains work in a similar fashion. We given an assignment and it will accomplish that goal.
The more precise and clear we make our goal… The more precise assignment we give our brains the closer we get to that fulfillment.
3. Identify potential problems and build a plan to combat them.
No plan ever goes according to schedule. Nothing really ever works out perfectly the way we desire. But this doesn’t mean we give up. It just means we have to plan for setbacks.
At this stage we want to write down obstacles that can potentially cause US problems or get in the way of our goals.
So make a list with your spouse of all the potential problems that you foresee.
Nobody has a crystal ball and you won’t get this perfect but if you begin the process by realizing there will be setbacks you will be ahead of the game. At this stage we simply want to address potential problems that might get in the way.
For example. One of the goals that my wife and I share is to write a book together. We are both writers but we want to co write a book together.
One of the potential problems is scheduling time to lay aside our personal projects to work together. We both realize this could be challenging and so we write on our list quote scheduling problems in quote
Knowing this could be a potential problem and having written it down so we can identify it clearly, we can map out a strategy and put together a plan that will help us conquer this setback or problem.
The potential problems will be unique to your personal goals. Do your best to identify these potential setbacks and build a plan and create a strategy to win.
Maybe one of your goals is to take a trip to Hawaii. I can think of half a dozen potential problems that could arise that could potentially interfere with that goal.
- Failure to set aside enough money when the due date arrives.
- Not coordinating work schedules.
- The list could go on and on.
The key is to identify these potential problems, get a plan to make sure those things don’t interfere with what you want to accomplish. When you identify problems ahead of time, you can create solutions before the problem even arises.
It sounds simple. And it is. Even though it’s not easy.
This is actually one of the keys to victory in every area of our life colon identifying problems and creating Solutions.
Do this and you can move forward with your dreams and goals.
4. Review Your Goals Regularly
Years ago I read a book by Henriette Klauser called ‘Write it down, Make it Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It.’
In it she tells about the habit her sons developed to increase productivity in their business.
“My sons, James and Peter, own and operate a graphic design firm. They are imaginative, creative, and indefatigable workers and their business is thriving. At the beginning of each month, they have a planning session where they write down their goals for the month. Then every Monday morning, they select and write on a dry erase board the goals for the week. From that point on, they know that their activities—often indirectly—will feed those goals. What delights them constantly is the amount of work they get from untapped sources.”
This can apply to marriage.
When we keep the big picture in our minds it helps us navigate the little distractions, irritations and glitches that we experience in life.
I Know The Purpose Of My Marriage
I’m married to a wonderful woman. In many ways we have a ‘dream life.’ It’s not without challenges. But it is pretty incredible.
One of the reasons we function so well as a couple is we know ‘why’ we are together.
Let me be clear. I’m very attracted to my wife. She is beautiful. Sweet. A truly classy. We share so many hobbies (which keeps us connected) and we like a lot of the same things.
The thing that really makes life sweet is we share a common mission. We both feel ‘called’ to something bigger than ourselves.
This belief in our calling gives us a destiny ‘together.’
So when life throws us a curve ball, we know we can handle it because we know we have a mission, destiny and purpose.
It’s amazing how a sense of purpose gives you power over daily issues. It keeps you moving forward. You avoid running into a ditch (metaphorically), because you have your eyes on something bigger.
Reviewing your marriage goals – and the big picture of why you are together – will keep you moving in the right direction.
Wrap Up on Marriage Goals
In this article we talked about four reasons you should get clear on your marriage goals – including the big picture of why you are even married.
- It helps you avoid living negative.
- You move in the direction of your dominant thoughts.
- Clarity produces confidence.
- Clarity brings unity.
We also looked at four practical steps to create awesome goals.
- Set aside time with your spouse to discuss your dreams.
- Make them real by putting them in writing.
- Identify potential problems and create solutions ahead of time.
- Review your goals regularly.
Big Question: Have you created a big picture dream for your marriage?
What are some goals you have as a couple/family?
I would love to get your feedback.
Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.
Resources Mentioned in this Article
Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want and Getting It, by Henriette Klauser
Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz